With Christmas around the corner, let’s look at who’s getting lumps of coal and who’s going to get some good presents.

NICE: Hats off to Gov. Henry McMaster for winning reelection and for being in line to be the longest-serving governor in the state’s history when the coming term ends. Inauguration is Jan. 11.

NAUGHTY: South Carolina’s seemingly hapless Democratic Party doesn’t have lots to celebrate this year, winning no statewide seats and losing seven more seats in the S.C. House. It needs to get its act together in more ways than one.

NICE: And that chance may come thanks to U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, South Carolina political kingmaker whose 2000 endorsement of Joe Biden breathed life into his presidential campaign. Now Biden wants South Carolina to hold the party’s first presidential primary in 2024, which should send floods of party operatives into the state — and maybe some of them will stick around to help rebuild the party.  

NAUGHTY: One GOP congressman, Ralph Norman of Rock Hill, needs to go after egging on former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to send in the Army to thwart the 2021 inauguration of Joe Biden.  All the while, Norman publicly mewed that he wasn’t for fomenting insurrection. Give us all a Christmas gift and resign, Congressman.

NICE: Federal Judge Michelle Childs, mentioned this year as a possibility for the U.S. Supreme Court, got a highly-esteemed appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, perhaps the nation’s second-most prestigious court. And S.C. Circuit Judge DeAndrea Benjamin, wife of former Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, is expected to be voted on soon for a federal appellate seat for the 4th Circuit.

NAUGHTY: The state Republican Party, while a powerhouse no one dreamed of 30 years ago, continues to attract far-right candidates and kowtow to division, fear and governmental grumpiness. Earth to white male Republicans: Stop telling women what they can do with their bodies and focus more on solutions for everyone in South Carolina.

NICE: House Speaker Murrell Smith, who recently shuffled House committees in an attempt to get more substance out of the S.C. House, usually a race track for legislation.

NAUGHTY: It is impossible to believe state Superintendent-elect Ellen Weaver actually did two or more years of work in just a few months to get a master’s degree that she’s required to have to take office. Naughties to the folks at Bob Jones University, too, for playing along and cheapening advanced education.

NICE: Former Gov. David Beasley, whose hard work to feed the world at the World Food Program, is nothing short of heroic.

NAUGHTY: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who squirmed and struggled to keep from testifying before a grand jury over his role in questioning Georgia’s votes in the 2020 election.  The whole mess was simply embarrassing – especially for someone who claims to be for the rule of law.

NICE: Early voting is a huge success. Wish we had gotten around to it sooner.  

NAUGHTY: Gun nuts continue to thwart reasonable gun safety measures, such as closing the Charleston loophole in South Carolina that allowed murderer Dylann Roof to kill nine people in 2015 at Emanuel AME Church. It’s been seven years of nothing in the legislature.  Do something about it in 2023.

NICE: Economic development officials across the state deserve a big slap on the back for attracting billions of dollars of investments in all parts of the state — from a wine facility in the Midlands and battery plants in the Lowcountry and the Pee Dee. If a mild recession comes, South Carolina’s economy should be more flexible than some to handle it.

Tell your state leaders this month to spread the holiday season’s joy and warmth throughout 2023 to make it the best year yet for all South Carolinians, not just a few.

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of the Charleston City Paper and Statehouse Report.  Have a comment?  Send to: feedback@charlestoncitypaper.com.


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